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Doomsday prepper turns himself in | News

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Doomsday prepper turns himself in

Tampa, Florida -- The Valrico "doomsday prepper" on the run for more than two days now, surrendered himself without incident earlier Wednesday at FBI headquarters in Tampa.

Marty Winters, 55, had been on the run since agents tried to serve him with a warrant early Monday morning.

Previous Story:
Manhunt underway for Valrico 'prepper'

He and his fellow "preppers" are said to be preparing for what they perceive to be Armageddon. The group says it has stashed food, weapons, clothing, and other items in barrels underground around the state.

They weren't sure whether or not Winters was getting help while he was at large, and would not release many details about his surrender.

During a press conference at 12:30 p.m. Wednesday, FBI Tampa Office's public affairs officer and special agent Dave Couvertier said around 10 a.m. Winters, accompanied by two attorneys and a family member, turned himself in peacefully to the Tampa FBI field office.

PRESS CONFERENCE: 'Doomsday prepper' surrenders


Agents say Winters was very cooperative during processing. His shoes and socks were soaked, and an agent was kind enough to loan Winters an extra pair of socks and shoes. He was also hungry and an agent gave ran out and got him some cheeseburgers, and he was given Gatorade and water due to concerns he was dehydrated.

Winters was then escorted over the federal courthouse where he had his official appearance. He was denied bond. Winters and a handful of his followers in the "River Otter Preppers" group were arrested for allegedly purchasing weapons illegally, and manufacturing and assembling small explosives.

Several neighbors describe Winters as a gentle man, a giver in the community, who would often help people down on their luck with free food and jobs. If he was arming himself, they say, it was likely to protect what belonged to him.

Fugitive described as loving father

Couvertier credits Winters with ending the search peacefully and not resorting to violence.

"He [Winters] sets an example out there that violence is not the only option, especially nowadays with the things that we've seen in society," Couvertier said during the press conference. "We're very glad to report that this was brought to a peaceful ending, and we're hoping that this will be an example for other people out there when they are faced with a difficult situation that they do the right thing and stay away from a violent confrontation."


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